More about the library

For decades, researchers, students and heritage fans have found their way to the world-famous collection about Rubens and other masters of Flemish art. With thousands of publications, old books and archived documents, this is where fiction meets reality. And where interest turns into inspiration.  

More about the library

A shared passion 

Are you also a book fan? Rubens had a private library with as many as five hundred titles. He would read until deep in the night, expanding his insight into people and society. Scrolling through his world wide web of paper. A passion that he shared with his son Albert. And now with you. Because in exactly the same spot is where you too will start your look inside his artistic legacy and that of his fellow artists at that time.  

Come and see for yourself! 

Who was Peter Paul anyway? What was his status in life? And how did he treat women? Was he a player? If he were alive nowadays, would he join the MeToo movement? Did he ever consider the wellbeing of his staff? And was he open to ideas from his pupils? Add to the story and visit the library to do some research of your own! Rummage around in the past by referring to paintings, letters, books and other archived documents.  


Is the name Rubens on it or inside it? If so, you will find it here. Long, open racks bring together all relevant publications about the life and work of the artist. Older and more fragile books have been given a place in repositories, where they are ranked by size and stored in accordance with the climatological rules of the art. Like to go searching in the notes of other art historians? If so, be sure to consult the research archives.   

Studying and imagining 

Other Flemish and European artists from Rubens's time also form part of the collection. Monographs, catalogues of art dealers and auctions, exhibition publications, newspaper articles and magazines: you name it and it is here. Whether it's recent or already centuries old. Each year, the collection is expanding thanks to new acquisitions and items donated by authors, museums and private individuals.   


Searching for specific publications for research or study purposes? If so, reserve the items you need in advance and we will have them ready for you. But take your time and make sure you get to discover everything the library has to offer. Dive into what's available and take a seat in one of our study spaces. From there, you will have a great view of the garden and the residence. You'll need to stay on topic, because your imagination will soon run away with itself.  

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby! 

Long before the Swifties, there were the Rubies: die-hard fans who collected everything that had to do with the life and work of Rubens. Take the German art historian Ludwig Burchard, for example. He put together a huge collection of documentation about Rubens. A man with a mission: to write a catalogue of works about the painter. After his death in 1960, the City of Antwerp looked after the rich archive he left behind. Since then, experts from around the world have continued his life's work and have brought together Rubens oeuvre in an immense catalogue known as the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. The last of 46 publications may well become available this year. The Burchard collection forms a firm foundation for the research collections in the library at the Rubenshuis.  

Explore Rubens from home?

Browse the library collection.